1st Edition

Nonlinear Pedagogy and the Athletic Skills Model The Importance of Play in Supporting Physical Literacy

    194 Pages 53 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 53 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers an ecological conceptualisation of physical literacy. Re-embracing our ancestry as hunter gatherers we gain a new appreciation and understanding of the importance of play, not only in terms of how children learn, but also in showing us as educators how we can lay the foundations for lifelong physical activity. The concept of physical literacy has been recognised and understood throughout history by different communities across the globe. Today, as governments grapple with the multiple challenges of urban life in the 21st century, we can learn from our forebears how to put play at the centre of children’s learning in order to build a more enduring physically active society. 

    This book examines contemporary pedagogical approaches, such as constraints-led teaching, nonlinear pedagogy and the athletic skills model, which are underpinned by the theoretical framework of Ecological Dynamics. It is suggested that through careful design, these models, aimed at children, as well as young athletes, can (i) encourage play and facilitate physical activity and motor learning in children of different ages, providing them with the foundational skills needed for leading active lives; and (ii), develop young athletes in elite sports programmes in an ethical, enriching and supportive manner.  

    Through this text, scientists, academics and practitioners in the sub-disciplines of motor learning and motor development, physical education, sports pedagogy and physical activity and exercise domains will better understand how to design programmes that encourage play and thereby develop the movement skills, self-regulating capacities, motivation and proficiency of people, so that they can move skilfully, effectively and efficiently while negotiating changes throughout the human lifespan. 

    Section 1: Theoretical Positioning of Physical Literacy 

    1. Time for a Rethink: Why a New Approach to Physical Literacy is Needed

    Keith Davids and James Rudd

    2. Understanding the Ecological Roots of Physical Literacy and How We Can Build on this to Move Forward

    James Rudd

    3. What Physical Literacy in the Community Can Teach Us: Learning Designs in Natural Settings     

    Ian Renshaw and Will Roberts 

    Section 2: Contemporary Approaches for Operationalising Physical Literacy  

    4. Why Motor Learning Theory Matters to How We Teach Movement and Physical Literacy

    James Rudd and Keith Davids

    5. Nonlinear Pedagogy: A New Framework for Designing Learning Environments for Sport, Physical Education and Recreational Activities 

    Jia Yi Chow 

    6. Practitioners as Architects of the Environment: How We Can Use Environmental Design Principles to Support Physical Literacy 

    Daniel Newcombe, Keith Davids, and Will Roberts

    7. The Athletic Skills Model: Enhancing Physical Literacy across the Life-span 

    Geert Savelsbergh and René Wormhoudt

    Section 3: Further Considerations and Future Direction of Research and Practice in Physical Literacy 

    8. A More Holistic Way of Measuring Physical Literacy

    Will Roberts and James Rudd

    9. What We Have Learned and the way Forward

    James Rudd, Ian Renshaw, Daniel Newcombe, Geert Savelsbergh, Jia Yi Chow, Will Roberts, and Keith Davids

    Section 4: Exploring New Avenues of Research to Understand Physical Literacy

    10. Physical Education: Combining Movement Education and Nonlinear Pedagogy to Provide Meaningful Physical Education Experiences 

    James Rudd, Lawrence Foweather, Laura O’Callaghan Kattie Fitton Davies, Matteo Crotti, and Rachael Grace 

    11. Boing and Physical Literacy: A Play Based Movement Programme for Community, School and Sport 

    Will Roberts, Daniel Newcombe, Sean Longhurst, Ben Franks, and Kit Cutter

    12. High Performers: Physical Literacy is Still an Important Consideration 

    Ian Renshaw and Daniel Newcombe

    13. Measuring Physical Literacy: A Fresh Approach

    Brett Wilkie, Jonathan Foulkes, Colin Lewis, Carl Woods, Alice Sweeting and Ella Robinson, and James Rudd

    14. Development of Creative Movement through Enriched Game Design

    Ella Robinson, Colin Lewis, Jonathan Foulkes, Brett Wilkie, Carl Woods, Alice Sweeting and James Rudd


    James Rudd is a senior lecturer in Physical Education at Liverpool John Moores University, UK; his research interests are in the areas of pedagogy, child development and motor learning.

    Ian Renshaw is an associate professor of Human Movement and Sports Science at Queensland University of Technology, Autralia.

    Geert J.P. Savelsbergh is head of the Motor Learning & Performance section of the Amsterdam Movement Sciences & Institute for Brain and Behaviour at the Vrije Universteit, Netherlands.

    Jia Yi Chow is currently the Associate Dean, Programme and Student Development, with the Office of Teacher Education (OTE), National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

    Will Roberts is a senior lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science, and Academic Course Lead for the MSci/BSc in Sport Coaching Science at the University of Gloucestershire, UK.

    Daniel Newcombe is a senior lecturer on the Sport, Coaching & PE degree at Oxford Brookes University, UK.

    Keith Davids is professor of Motor Learning in the Sport & Human Performance research group at Sheffield Hallam University, UK (2014 onwards), investigating skill acquisition, expertise and talent development in sport.